Plan needed to access state grant money
Back in February RCS CBA leadership met with Empire State Development (ESD) to learn about what grants our community might be eligible to receive for revitalization efforts. As we reported to municipal leaders and RCS CBA members and friends following that meeting, ESD said the Town and Village need an economic development plan before our community can apply for funding. An economic development plan creates a vision for the type of community its citizens want and specific actions local government(s) intend to take to make that vision a reality.
While the Town of Coeymans has a new, professional Comprehensive Plan, ESD said this plan is too general for grant award purposes. The state agency requires more than just broad goals - it wants to see strategies, tactics, a timeline, who will be responsible for the work and tools designed to measure success. These are all elements of an Economic Development Plan. You can check out the Comprehensive Plan here (see page 9 for section on broad economic development goals).
Rebecca Flach, RCS CBA's secretary and chair of the Economic Development Advisory Committee, explained at the April 21 mixer at Yanni's II that an economic development plan is a lot like a business plan.
"If a business owner wants to start or grow his/her business, banks and other lenders require a well thought out business plan before they will consider funding," Flach said. "The same is true of municipalities if they want economic development money from the state."
RCS CBA reached out to the Town about the need for an Economic Development Plan via email in early April. We also attended the Thursday, April 14th Town Board Meeting where Chair Joy Iafallo delivered these comments:
In 2023 210+ people will begin to find new employment at the Port of Coeymans as part of the Wind Power Project. As RCS CBA members learned at our January business breakfast, the Port is well positioned to be a big player in the wind power industry for many years to come thanks to its deep water draft and the other infrastructure Carver Companies had the foresight to put in place. In addition to the Wind Power Project, business is bustling in other ways at the Port. CTI, a composite services, epoxy flooring and industrial coatings business, has set up shop there. Curaleaf NY is slated to begin an expansion soon. Carver Companies also recently moved its administrative offices and the bulk of local staff to the Port. This explosive growth should be boon to the entire economy of the Town of Coeymans. People working at the Port will naturally come into the Town and the Village of Ravena to dine and shop. Some, perhaps, could like the community well enough to consider resettling here. However, the main thoroughfares and some of our greatest assets in the community don't encourage people to visit. Main Street in Coeymans and the Village has needed attention for many years. The hamlet of Coeymans continues to be an eyesore. However, with collaboration, a good plan and some hard work all of this is fixable to reflect the great people, businesses and community we have here. Two weeks ago RCS Community Business Association's Board of Directors asked the Town of Coeymans to create an economic development plan to capitalize on federal and state grant opportunities for this purpose. In a February meeting with Empire State Development coordinated by RCS CBA that the Town and Village were invited to, we learned this sort of plan is necessary to access state grant funds. A plan will also be necessary to access federal pandemic recovery monies that are now dwindling. We're here tonight to request again that the Town of Coeymans begin work immediately on an economic development plan, capitalizing on either or both the amended 2021 Comprehensive Plan and the 2007 Town Economic Development Plan as a starting point. We request the Town work with the Village and other key stakeholders, like RCS CBA, to bring this plan to fruition. Thank you. Town Supervisor McHugh argued the Town has done enough planning with the Amended Comprehensive Plan and now is the time for action. Following the meeting, however, he gave Town grant writer, Nicole Ambrosio, authorization to draft an economic development plan in keeping with the goals established in the 2021 amended comprehensive plan. RCS CBA will keep our members apprised of our activity on this matter. In the meantime, we'd like to hear from members on this topic. Send us an email at RCSBizAssoc@gmail.com with comments or to schedule a meeting.